©2019 Dan Harder

Plays

A Killer Story

A Killer Story is a fast-paced, entertaining 'noir' tale about a tough, bright sleuth who outsmarts everybody, including himself, as he attempts to find a missing neuro-scientist on the verge of creating the revolutionary/evolutionary “brain chip”.  Hired by both the scientist’s wife and his brainy/quirky partner, our detective, instead, spins a tale that ends up encircling them all in a killer story.  Timely and thought-provoking, A Killer Story is a sexy, often funny, unpredictable story about the wonderful/terrible power of “stories”.  It is also about class and status, art, science, anger, jealousy, guilt, and murder (how could it be “noir” without a bit of blood?).

Porto Franco Art Parlor, SF 2011

Throckmorton Theater, Mill Valley Playwrights Lab 2012

The Marsh Theater, Berkeley 2013

Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Scotland 2013

Mechanics Library Theater, SF 2014

Gallery Players, McMinnville, OR 2014

Pivotal Labs, SF 2017

ZipperZ, a SoaPOPera

ZIPPERZ, a hip and edgy romantic comedy for two singers and symphony orchestra, tells the story of a love affair from two different perspectives at the same time through "dance numbers, pop ballads, and terse little melodic interchanges" (San Francisco Chronicle). Dan Harder's "zipper" poems provide the libretto, presenting a love story simultaneously from the perspectives of both lovers, in interlocking lines that yield third meanings when combined.

Oakland East Bay Symphony, Season-Opening Concert at the Paramount Theater, Michael Morgon conducting, Manoel Felciano (tenor), Eisa Davis (mezzo), 2008

 

Marin Symphony, Marin Civic Auditorium, Alasdar Neale conducting, Manoel Felciano (tenor), Robin Coomer (mezzo), 2011

 

CD Release performance at the French American Arts Pavillion, composer Nathaniel Stookey conducting, Manoel Felciano (tenor), Robin Coomer (mezzo), 2017

Zipperz_CD.jpg

ZipperZ CD

Released September 2017 on Ghostlight/Warner Records

The Clean Break

What happens when 6 VERY different people come to a laundromat on a Saturday morning and… start to interact?  Funny, odd, challenging, and unexpected things -- particularly when one of the characters is a homeless fellow who believes he is John Lennon’s illegitimate son, another is a wannabe Jerry Springer – despite the fact that she’s a woman, another is a former Punk-rock drummer turned Born Again believer, another is a lesbian med-school drop-out, and the other two – well, you’ll just have to come see who they are.  Fast-paced and full of sight gags, the piece moves fast BUT not without exploring how we (or our surrogate six on stage) might try to make a “Clean Break” with our precious traditional convictions.

Throckmorten Theater Playwrights Lab, Mill Valley 2004

Murphys Creek Theater, 2015

Murphys Creek Theater, 2016

Trying Angles (aka Shapes)

Although Trying Angles/Shapes has all the markings of a well-crafted bedroom farce: mistaken identities, rival lovers, clever banter, etc., the play offers more than theatrical fluff in its exploration of the complex reasons one should (and shouldn’t) remain faithful.  Three architects create their own stage-sets and find that form and function in real life—particularly with respect to romantic relations—don’t always fit together perfectly.

Bannam Place Theater, SF 1990

Gallery Players, McMinnville, OR, 1990

Throckmorton Theater, Mill Valley 2006

Murphys Creek Theater “Festival of New Plays” 2016

Quartet for Three Characters and Cello

Three separate monologues zippered (see zipper poetry – and its rules). In Act 1, three characters (a taxi driver, the sister of a missing woman, an aging female detective) try to figure out why a young black man and young white woman have disappeared.  Was it murder -- and racially motivated?  Was it a political statement?  Or was it a well-planned romantic escapade?  Each character's surmise is the product of that character's expectations, these expectations being the product of personality, circumstance, and culture.  The end of the act is mysterious, but it points to a favored inference…

 

In Act 2, the characters of Act 1 are double cast, now the Taxi Driver is a Coast Guard Officer, the female Cop is now the missing black man and the lover of the missing woman, and the Sister now plays the missing sister and lover of the missing man of Act 1. Clearly, the couple is alive, at least for now, romantically well on the stolen sailboat. The story develops into an exploration of how (and if) love can survive the stormy seas of self-discovery, political iconoclasm, police pursuit, and the crashing waves of a north Pacific tempest.  As Sara says, "We are on a new Mayflower heading out to find a better place to live and love."  But do they -- can they -- find it? 

The Marsh, SF 2002

The Magic Theater, SF 2002

Western Stage, Salinas, 2003

Chashama Theater, NYC 2004

Abingdon Theater, NYC, 2004

First Universalist Unitarian Church Theater, Walnut Creek, 2004

Actors’ Theater, SF 2004

Litteraturhuset, Oslo, Norway 2014

Androktasia 

At rise, a young woman in a nightgown is seated on the stage/her bedroom floor where, presumably late one night, she is reading. What she reads comes alive on stage with two male actors, a female Flamenco dancer, and 1-3 musicians (a drum/rhythm player – necessary, Flamenco guitar – wonderful, waterphone player – very cool).  The young woman reads a selection of some of the best, and best-selling, literature.  Her selections, however, are disturbing.  This play/performance piece explores our dangerous fascination with graphic violence and how, to a certain extent, we – the audience, and they – the writers – amplify the attractions of violence.  (Sex isn’t the only things that sells!) Androktasia takes us through a fast-paced, exciting, moving nightmare of violence and confession ending with the question, to what extent is our basest nature encouraged by our most sophisticated and popular art?

Footworks Theater, SF 1986

San Francisco Jewish Community Theater, SF 1987

Company One, Hartford, Conn. 1989